Volume 7, Issue 7, page 9

HERE ARE two gospels attributed to
the disciple, Thomas. One has long
been in collections of New Testament apocryphal writings. It includes tall tales of the childhood
of Jesus, in which he used occult
or magical powers to play pranks.

Well, boys will be boys -- and isn't
it wonderful he turned out so well?
If there is a grain of truth in
these legends, it explains why Jesus
sought baptism, and a chance to thresh
out his values on the desert. The sin that
was washed away was that of all immature
people with unusual gifts-=the sin of not
having made the highest possible use of
them. spread far and wide. The book is copyrighted,
But it is of the other "Gospel According to so I shan't quote. But for me, it is the gosThomas"that I write. You probably had not heard pel for the esoterics, the individualists, and
about this prior to the autumn of 1959, when those with a kindly, optimistic'temperament.
Harper and Brothers published it in transla- In it is no mention of hell, torture, wrath
tion and original. It had been discovered in of God. The antithesis is between the Living
1945 in a library in Egypt, written in Coptic. and the dead, Light and darkness. Good and
It is believed that it goes back to the period evil are mentioned, but the important and the
when Gnosticism was just crystalizing. Gnosti- unimportant seem rather more stressed.
cism was later declared a heresy, but at the The world (not the earth) is called a corpse
time our Gospel of St.John was written, it was and unworthy of us. We should fast not from
not yet a heresy, and St. John is influenced by food but from the world. The Kingdom has alit, even tho he is also refuting some of its ready come, is both within and without. One
doctrines. passage could be interpreted as supporting

This newly-discovered "Gomel According to nudism, or could be taken symbolically to mean
Thomas" is a collection of the "secret say- overcoming shame and pretense. One should not
ings" of Jesus as written down by Thomas. engage in perfunctory religious practices

Greek words imbedded in the text point toward which one hates
an earlier Greek manuscript. Some of the verses (oled. prayer, fasting) st,
God will not be fooled. But should be honest,
are the same in substance as some found in the love one's neighbor as one's own soul, guard
four gospels already in the canon. But some him, heal him. If one has money, one should
are different. We have no way of knowing wheth- give it without interest to those who will not
er these are any less authentic. I do not find return it. them contradictory to the teachings of Jesus Those who prefer to think of Jesus not as a
we now have, but doubtless some people will.
man but an astral spirit identifiable with
To me, the book contains a lot of common sense light or fire, will find support in these
as well as some passages that are, perhaps,
logia(which could also be taken symbolically).
meaningless to us now, or impractical. On the He and His disciples are Sons of the Light,
whole, I like the collection very much, they are to say they came from the Light. They
Will it be included in the canon? I don't existed before this life and the end will be
think so. Or, not for a long time. At the time as the beginning. He gives feminism its basic
of its publication, CHRISTIAN CENTURY reviewed charter. The disciples suggest expelling Mary
it, pointed out its importance to scholarship, because, being a woman, she is not worthy of
recommended it to ministers for study, praised the Life. Jesus replies that he will lead her
the publishers for a good job. A few months so that she may become a living spirit .like
later, they ran a long article by a theologian them, and that every woman who makes herself
who, after an agonizing appraisal, decided the male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
book should not be included in the Bible. His Every reader will make his own selection
reason, if I grasped it, was that this gospel and interpretation. I believe there is value in
implies that Man saves himself by seeking being able to do tHis with a text that comes
knowledge (spiritual) and self-development. to us fresh and has been spared, centuries of
This contradicts the Pauline doctrine, basic possible tampering to bring the thought of
to Protestantism, that salvation is by grace Jesus closer to the understanding or purposes
alone, thru the atonement of the crucifixion. of the early church